Nicholas K. designer Nicholas Kunz on her "treehouse" co-op and fave decor picks

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | August 27, 2014 - 8:59AM

Cool clothes for chic New Yorkers is how you would describe the clothing brand Nicholas K. Created by brother and sister Christopher and Nicole Kunz (who goes by Nicholas, a childhood nickname), it’s fashion for the urban nomad in all of us.

After studying at FIT and in Florence, Nicholas worked at DKNY, Calvin Klein and Polo, among others, before launching the company in 2003. She and her husband, who works in film, web design and animation, bought a co-op last year in Civic Center, a neighborhood on the border of Chinatown and Tribeca dominated by government buildings and courthouses.

The designer is currently putting the finishing touches on the Spring 2015 collection showing at New York Fashion Week next week but took a moment to opine on the joys of downtown living and her love of Brutalist architecture. 

Siblings Christopher and Nicholas Kunz (right) founded their fashion line in 2003. (Photo credit: Nicholas K. studio)

Why did you choose Civic Center?

I wasn’t so fixed on living in that area, but the apartment building was an architecturally significant building and so interesting. It’s Chatham Towers, a mid-century Brutalist, concrete building. The layout of the apartment is great, and in New York it’s hard to find things that are not cookie cutter. We also have a balcony overlooking a garden, so it has a very treehouse feeling.

Your office/studio is walking distance from your apartment. Why not set up shop on Seventh Avenue, the epicenter of the city's fashion industry? 

Fashion is definitely is moving downtown. There are a lot of sales showrooms in Tribeca and Soho now, and I love the neighborhood because the spaces are more industrial and lofty.  

Is there any overlap between your studio and home décor?

Our office is very industrial, with wide plank floors, tin ceilings and windows that wrap around. At home the aesthetic is Mid-Century Modern. I appreciate both worlds.

The Operay light fixture is one item at BBDW, Kunz's pick for best decor shop in her area. 

Favorite piece in your home?

A Hans Olsen chair/daybed. I first saw it on an inspiration board on the web. I like unique pieces and it’s from the '50s, a day bed that comes apart and becomes a chair and table. The piece was hard to find, but I did eventually find it in Florida.

Your pick for best restaurant in your neighborhood?

I like Freemans. The décor is really interesting, the menu is always really good and the  cocktails are great! Another favorite is Red Farm in the West Village.

Best places to shop for décor?

BDDW, on Crosby Street. The furniture is very high-end and really beautiful. Upstate, I like Kabinett and Kammer. The owner [Sean Scherer] is an artist, and the pieces are very unique.

A look from a Nicholas K. runway (Photo credit: Nicholas K. studio)

Fantasy purchase for your home?

An art piece by Not Vital. I like his sensibility and his work. He has a strong point of view.

What are fashionistas going to see on your runway for Spring 2015?

The starting point is Northern Africa, inspired by women explorers of the late 1800s and 1900s. 


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